Call: 740-653-2525 Contact
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord! I am Rev. Rita Brown and it is my privilege to welcome you to Mills Memorial United Methodist Church. We are a caring community of faith, committed to proclaiming the gospel and sharing God's love with all people.
Mills Memorial United Methodist Church has been an integral part of the Lancaster community for over 100 years, and today we are excited in our belief that God is calling to a greater service than ever before. Our theme is "Living for Jesus Christ, Reaching Others for Him".
We believe God's spirit is present and active here in our midst, leading us into a more meaningful relationship with God and with the people of God. If you are new to the area or if you don’t have a church home we invite you to come join us on our spiritual journey.
The Bible is among many things, a list of unforgettable walks. The first one was taken by God himself who used to walk in the garden in the cool of the day. Then there was the difficult walk Abraham took with his son Isaac to Mt Moriah. There was the liberating walk Moses took with the Israelites. There was Jposhuas victorious walk around Jericho. There was Jesus walk toward Calvary. Perhaps the most unforgettable walk was the one Peter took the day he got out of the boat and walked on the water.
There’s a great deal of mystery and miracle in this story—Jesus walking on water; Peter walking on water; the sudden quieting of the storm. A great deal of mystery and miracle, but this is my question: Why did Peter do it? Why did Peter step out of the boat and go to Jesus?
Was it fear of the storm? There’s no mention of the disciples being afraid of the storm—their only fear is of Jesus, who they take to be a ghost. Was it bravado? The big, tough fisherman showing off in front of his friends? I don’t believe at this point Peter possesses that much courage—even of the show-off variety.
Maybe Peter’s gesture was a fleece, a test of God’s faithfulness, and of Jesus’ authority. Do you remember Herod’s challenge to Jesus in JesusChrist Superstar? “Prove to me that you’re no fool—walk across my swimming pool.”
I wonder if there’s something else that motivated Peter to do such a crazy thing. I wonder if Peter stepped out of the boat because he simply wanted to be near Jesus. It was true of the crowds just earlier; it was true of the four disciples—including Peter—when Jesus first called them. Over and over the Gospels provide examples of people who want to be near Jesus—touch the hem of his garment, have him bless their children, listen to his teachings.
I wonder if Peter wanted to walk on water not for fear of the storm, nor for show, nor to test Jesus, but simply to share in the power of Jesus’ presence, to be near him, to be doing what he was doing.
Peter had taken a leap of faith some time before, throwing caution to the wind, leaving nets and boats and fishing trade and stepping out into the shallows and onto dry land—and would again before it was all over. Maybe this was simply another leap.
Would you do what Peter did? Or would you stay in the boat with the other disciples to wait and see what would happen next? Do we seek out adventure, or hide from it? Maybe, like Peter—who eventually faltered— there is in us a little of both.
I have been to KingsIsland many times. And many of those times it rained sometime during the day. In the sudden downpour people were darting into retail shops right and left, where the top-selling commodity suddenly became three-dollar rain ponchos. Just hours earlier, these same people had paid a handsome sum of money for admission to a park that promised to drench them on log rides, rapid river adventures, and the like. Now, it seemed, their lives depended on protection from the rain!
Which is closer to true human nature? The log ride, or the poncho? It’s a mixed verdict, isn’t it? All I can say is, people paid a lot more for the log ride than for the parka. Something within us wants more than safety and security—staying within the snug and predictable boundaries of the familiar. What is that something? A hankering for adventure? A thirst for meaning?
William Sheldon, a clinical psychologist, has written that the great body of research into psychological motivators indicates that humans have a motive that runs deeper than sexuality, the desire for social power, or the yearning for acceptance and approval. That motive is for orientation, meaning, and purpose. Humans want more than social status or another bite of chocolate—they want their lives to count for something worthy and true.
In other words, as attractive an option as it may be to remain safely in the boat, a deeper part of us wants to step out of it—even if it means getting wet. It is not enough that I am wealthy—I need to know how to direct my wealth in meaningful ways; not even enough that I am happy—I need to share that happiness; not enough that I know how to win friends and influence people— I need to see ways in which to direct that influence for the sake of something that matters. To be secure from life’s storms is not what satisfies us; what satisfies us is to hold a hand that can lead us through life’s storms.
Would you do what Peter did? I don’t mean go boating in a storm and step over the edge. There’s water all around us—it’s calling living. And to step out of our boat into that water may be as simple as making certain decisions in certain ways. Stepping into the water is what we do when we share our faith with another person. It’s what we do when we show compassion in a time and place where others scorn and scoff. Stepping into the wind-swept waters is what happens when we stand up for what is right, even in the face of inconvenience or opposition. Getting wet is what we do when we say in a way we mean more than ever before, “I am going to place myself in every moment of every day in the frightening, caressing presence of God, praying the psalmist’s prayer, and meaning it: ‘You, Lord, are all I have; you give me all I need; my life is in your hands.’ ”
There’s a great deal of miracle and mystery in this story; just as there’s a great deal of miracle and mystery in our own decisions to choose purpose over security, usefulness over convenience, involvement over comfort.
Why did Peter step out? Why do we? Over and over, it seems, we are willing—am I wrong about this?—to test the wellness and wetness of our baptism by reaching for a hand that’s just beyond the safety of our boat. After all, if there’s one thing that means more to us in life than staying dry, it’s getting wet.
Peter may have been the first one out of the boat but Jesus invitation is for you also and for me. That’s where you will meet him: out where the sea is high and the footing impossible. As a follower of Jesus you want to go where he calls you. But walk on water? What does that mean for us today?
· Walking on water means facing your fears and choosing not to have fear have the last word.
· Walking on water means discovering and embracing the unique calling of God on your life.
· Walking on water means experiencing the power of God in your life to do something you would not be capable of doing on your own.
If you step out of the boat will you fail? Sink? Maybe but Jesus is there…pulling you up when the bottom drops out. I believe there is some aspect in your life in which God is calling you to step out of the boat. And walk with him. Step out of the boat…be willing to get wet…for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ.